Insulin Pump Demystified

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A sweet new year...

This past weekend was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the celebration of the creation of the world. It is one of my favorite holidays. I love the opportunity to think of starting the new year with a clean slate, with a fresh start. In Jewish tradition, we perform the act of "Teshuvah" which translates into repentance. We go to people whom we have hurt, and ask forgiveness. We go to God and pray for forgiveness for sins that we have committed against the Holy One. It is a time of introspection and reflection. Now we are in what are called the "Ten Days of Awe" which come between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Much is on my mind. I use this time to look inward as much as possible, and try to do an honest accounting of where I am falling short, in both my deeds and intentions.

One of the themes and rituals for Rosh Hashanah is about a "sweet new year." We dip apples into honey and make a blessing over them. We wish friends and family members to have a sweet new year, we cook apple cakes and honey cakes to serve on our holiday tables. This metaphor pushes a button in me, someone living with Type 1 diabetes for over 25 years now. What does "sweetness" really mean to me?

Yes--now with the pump I can eat my apples and honey, and even my honeycake and rugalech and all kinds of goodies, and still keep my blood sugar under control. But the idea of "sweetness" is still a complicated one for me. I think about the sweetness that was denied to me after my diabetes diagnosis and the bitterness that filled inside me in its place. I think about the way people have often used the adjective "sweet" to describe me, only to be shocked when they discover the tough-as-nails part of my personality that lies beneath the surface.

"Sugar works better than vinegar" my Grandmother used to tell me and I watched as she used sweet talk to get things done. I've often modeled that tactic and been successful as a result, laughing coyly as she used to do, once the mission's been accomplished.

I am wishing for a sweet new year, though the word "joyous" feels better to me than "sweet" because of the baggage that I've just described. A joyous year for my family, for my friends, for everyone. A year of sweetness and joy and hope and peace and also, especially, for health--without which, we don't have very much of anything at all.

L'shana Tovah--a sweet New Year--to each of you (Jewish or not!)--

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stress & my sugars

My life is a little bit crazy at the moment, but a lot of the craziness is good. My husband and I just found a lovely little home in a neighborhood that we desire--one with excellent public schools--in a suburb of Philadelphia. The price was right, so we made a bid and our offer was accepted. Now we have to sell our current home, in this not exactly seller's market. I'm confidant that we will, but keeping a home perfectly clean and uncluttered with a 3 and 1/2-year-old and 1-year-old in the midst is a challenge, to say the least.

So over the last couple of weeks, I have to say that the stress of it all has been having me ride the blood sugar rollercoaster. You know that one? My bg is fine at one reading and then shoots way up high at the next. What's happened in between? Just a few major adrenaline rushes as the phone rings and I find out that a potential buyer is on the way. This weekend has been the worst. We spent Friday and Saturday preparing for today's Open House and I'be had more lows in the last 48 hours than I think I have all summer long.

Which reminds me that no matter what is happening in my life--whether it is a stressful or relatively peaceful time--I have to make blood sugar management a key priority. I don't want to be riding this rollercoaster througout the selling process and move...

Wishing you peace in your life!

PS: Philadelphia area readers--you can check out a link to my house at

Friday, September 01, 2006

One year ago...

...I was 37 weeks pregnant and watching CNN obsessively, trying to understand what was happening to Hurricane Katrina victims. Granted, I couldn't sleep so well because of my size and getting sucked into the Katrina drama held me at a safe distance from the anxiety around the fact that I was going to give birth very soon, but my obsessive watching came from a deeper place than just needing to escape. As someone living with Type 1 diabetes, I'm pretty damn grateful to be living in a more or less safe environment, in which I can depend on getting the insulin, medical supplies, food and water that I need to live. I can't imagine having my very life (including pump supplies and strips) swept away in flood waters like that or being one amongst the thousands horded into the Superdome, desparate for insulin. Seeing scenes of horror like that on our very own US soil threw my sense of security compeletly out of whack. Add being so very pregnant into the mix and forget it. Every time a couple came on TV talking about being separated from their baby who was being held in the NICU of a Lousiania hospital, I became a total and complete wreck.

But Katrina was very far from Philadelphia and my daughter June Elizabeth was born, healthy and pretty happy, in a lovely, suburban hospital where we both recived the best of care, on the 6th day of September, 2005. When we sent an email to our friends and family, Fred & I requested that people send in donations to benefit Katrina victims in lieu of gifts for June, who was truly already so rich in so many ways. It was a small gesture, but feeling so helpless in the face of such great devastation, I took comfort from it and felt it gave June's life a beautiful karcmic beginning.

And now I am here, getting ready for June's birthday this week, watching Spike Lee's brilliant documentary on HBO "When the Levees Broke", remembering exactly the feelings that I was holding just one year ago. The word that comes closest to describing the feeling is "vulnerability." To depend on insulin to live is to be vulnerable. To be 37 weeks pregnant is to be vulnerable. To have faith and hope and trust is to be vulnerable.

I am still holding onto small measures in my daily practice of trying to show humanity and compassion. It feels like there are so many forces in the world right now that are about war, violence, greed and destruction. I look at my small children and want to make a better world for them. It sounds cliche, I know, but it is real for me.

With peace to you,